Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2009


March 20-22 was our trip to Venice (Venezia)! This was a much more laid-back weekend than Sicily: we left early Friday morning and got back Sunday evening, rather than going Thursday night through Monday morning. And we were glad for the extra time. We didn't try to see everything, but rather had a slow weekend wandering through the narrow (and often confusing!) streets of the city.

Cathedral of Venice (San Marco) and the porphyry statue of the tetrarchy attached to the church; this is a statue I've studied in class this semester

Palazzo Ducale, the Doge's Palace; at right, the flag of Venice with the winged lion representing St. Mark

Boats and Bridges: The main island of Venice, the old part of the city, has no cars or motorized vehicles of any kind; instead, the canals and bridges over them serve as the main transportation routes of the city.

The Accademia Bridge and the Rialto Bridge

Above: a "boat stop." Vaporetti, or water buses, are a form of public transpor…


After a short week back at school after spring break, we left on Thursday the 12th for Sicily! This was our most difficult trip, requiring four days of travel and a combination of buses and trains through four cities in Sicily. We took an overnight train on Thursday night which took us from Rome to Palermo, the capital of the autonomous region/island of Sicily. Palermo and Siracusa, another major city, traded off as capitals of the island in the past; Palermo, however, has royal buildings left from the Norman rule of the city that Siracusa does not.

The Palazzo Normanni, the Norman Palace, and at right, the interior of the famous Cappella Palatina, Palatine Chapel, covered in medieval mosaic. We got to take a tour of the palace, which today is used as a government building by the governing bodies of Sicily.

The Cathedral (Duomo) of Palermo and a detail of the carving

More details of the duomo, dome and bell towers

La Martorana, a church in Palermo with more medieval and Byzantine mos…

Ostia Antica and Castel Sant'Angelo

Dear Readers,
Sorry for the delay in posting; I realize it has been a couple weeks since my last post, but I've been very busy, as you shall see!

The weekend after our return from Tunisia, Sara and I decided to see some sights around Rome. On Saturday the 7th, we decided to go to Ostia Antica, the original port of Rome. It's a quick trip that just requires having a metro pass to take the train to the town. The modern town of Ostia is now pretty far from the coast due to the silting of the harbor that began in ancient times, and since the old town was abandoned when the harbor filled, the ancient streets and buildings are largely preserved. The preservation isn't as good as at Pompeii because the town has been exposed to the elements over the centuries, but what's left is still impressive.

The theater at left, and at right, carved masks, probably a part of the theater decoration

The ancient main street (decumanus) and apartment buildings, with shops on the first floor